The legislation would allow for Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs, to cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D
Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and bans Medicare from doing so
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced legislation to unleash the bargaining power of seniors for a better deal on prescription drug costs. The legislation would allow for Medicare to negotiate the best possible price of prescription drugs to cut costs for nearly 41 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and bans Medicare from doing so.
“Medicare is one of the largest drug purchasers in the country. It makes no sense that it’s restricted from negotiating the best deal with drug manufacturers,” Klobuchar said. “American seniors deserve a better deal. This legislation would leverage the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors to negotiate less expensive prices under Medicare.”
The legislation would allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services to directly negotiate with drug companies for price discounts for the Medicare Prescription Drug Program, eliminating the “non-interference” clause that expressly bans Medicare from negotiating for the best possible prices. By harnessing the bargaining power of nearly 41 million seniors, Medicare could negotiate bigger discounts than pharmaceutical companies.
Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are cosponsors of the legislation.
Klobuchar has championed efforts to protect consumers and lower prescription drug costs by promoting competition in the healthcare system, authoring multiple pieces of bipartisan legislation that would address the high cost of prescription drugs. Klobuchar and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) earlier this year introduced the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow individuals to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, creating major savings for consumers and bringing greater competition into the pharmaceutical market. Klobuchar has also introduced the Preserve Access to Affordable Generics Act with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) to expand consumers’ access to the cost-saving generic drugs they need and increase competition by ending “pay for delay” deals—the practice of brand-name drug companies using anti-competitive pay-off agreements to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market. Klobuchar’s Short on Competition Act, introduced with Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), would allow a company to sell a drug that faces little or no competition in the U.S. while seeking Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval if the company already had approval to sell it in another country with similar safety requirements to the U.S and if the product has been on the market in that country for at least ten years. The Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act would prevent abusive tactics that prevent affordable drugs from entering the market.